December 9, 2010

Big Bend National Park ~ Mountains

The wonder of creation abounds in Big Bend National Park.  My first post on Big Bend  featured the desert - this post will highlight the Chisos Mountains of the park.  The Chisos Basin is at 5,401 feet above sea level and is a beautiful area that includes camp sites, a visitor's center, lodge and restaurant.

There are several hiking trails in the Chisos Basin.  We decided to take the Lost Mine trail which is a 4.8 mile hike (round trip)  pretty much straight up!   This moderate but steep trail provides excellent mountain and desert views.

Coming from the desert you immediately sense the excitement of new terrain as you approach the basin.

This was the first expansive view from the Lost Mine trail.  We were eager to see what awaited us at the top of the trail.

So onward we marched!  At this point the trail was still pretty easy...

We made it to a portion of the trail that offered amazing views and I thought maybe this was the end...ha! not to be...we still had the most difficult part of the hike ahead of us...

Along the trail there were the ubiquitous cacti.

 Some pretty blooms that were past their prime, but still shining and offering up vibrant color.

There was beautiful color all along the trail.  These bright yellow blooms were cheery and bright in the afternoon sunshine.

These gorgeous plants provide structural beauty contrasted against the autumn foliage peppering the mountain in the background.

 Everywhere along the trail there were interesting perspectives to enjoy.

We are climbing higher but not there yet!  It took about 2 hours to reach the summit - remember, 2.5 miles or I said, it was straight up and taking much longer than I had anticipated.

There was lichen growing on the rocks along the daughter told me that lichen has a hard time surviving in the park because of the pollution that carries on the breezes from Mexico.  Apparently lichen grow in some of the most extreme environments on earth and are useful to scientists in assessing the effects of air pollution.

At this point the trail is getting a lot more difficult and we stop to take a break and have a snack and drink of water...also a good opportunity to discreetly (LOL) take more pictures!

Casa Grande (elevation 7,325) is in the distance.

If you look closely, you can see where we parked our car at the bend in the road (a third of the way up from the bottom of the photo)...we have hiked and hiked at this point and I'm beginning to think there is no end to this trail!  We usually knock out 2.5 miles fairly quickly, this hike has been anything but quick!

This cairn was a tribute to miners of long ago.  Both my husband and son felt honored to add a small contribution to their memory.

The complexity and abundance of fall color was surprising...I didn't expect this on our visit to the park.

At this point, we're finally cresting the top of the trail and the views are spectacular...and once again, the sky is putting on a memorable display.

Is it just me, or do you see a Picasso like drawing on the face of these rocks?

From the top of the trail looking down on the canyon there is a beautiful display of autumn grandeur...

At the opposite side of the trail, there are grand vistas stretching for miles offering that sense that there is plenty of room left in the world for all of us.

Our next expedition will take us to the Rio Grande river.  I hope you'll join us as we continue our adventure in the beautiful Big Bend National Park.


  1. Looks like a wonderful hike. Love the autumn colors.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous!!! God outdid Himself in Big Bend! Makes me want to go back. Now if only I could get my husband to get excited about hiking :-) Thanks for sharing your trip! Stunning pics!!!

  3. I'm surprised by the autumn color too. What kinds of trees were turning orange? Big tooth maples?

    You really captured a sense of the vastness of the park.

  4. it looks wonderful thanks for sharing Cat, climbing is never quick especially if the terrain gets rough, going down can also take longer than many people think, I hope you had lots of fluids with you, photo 11 looks like sea in the distance but I imagine it's clouds and the blue atmosphere, Frances

  5. Your images are lovely and your tribute to the miners touching. What a wonderful gesture.

  6. What fantastic photo`s of truly stunning scenery! You are blessed to have such beauty at your feet!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  7. Absolutely love your photos. You are really good at bringing out beauty in everything.

  8. Breathtaking! Thanks for sharing a bit of the wonder the place with us.

  9. Great post about such a fantastic place! Wonderful pictures! Love the blue sky! The picture of your husband and son's hands is very touching. Thank you!

  10. I'm a bit ignorant (okay a lot) ignorant about geography in Texas but is Big Bend in Texas? I guess it is because those skies are just like I'd imagine them to be in Texas having never been. Maybe one day. You are quite a gal to hike 2.5 miles straight up-that's like mountain climbing and a lot of work. The reward was well worth it. Such a gorgeous trip.

  11. We have the prickly pear in common ;>)

  12. abso-freakin'-amazing, sweetie. seriously.

  13. Dear Rohrerbot, I was surprised by the rich color was a pleasant surprise.

    Yes, I agree Toni - God shines in the park! Thanks for your encouragement and thoughtful comments. I'm so glad to have come across your path.

    Thanks Pam. The color was outstanding! The basin is known for its pinon, oak and juniper but there is also quaking aspen...we had a wonderfully informative printed trail guide that I was going to use to identify all the plants and trees along the hike...guess what didn't make it home?

    Thank you Frances, I'm glad you liked the post. I think the atmosphere looks like the ocean too - it was so nice to be able to literally "see as far as the eye can see".

    Thank you Donna. That is one of my favorite shots of the whole trip...

    We are blessed John. It's about 7.5 hours away by car but definitely worth the travel!

    Thank you One. There is so much beauty just waiting to be captured!

    I'm so glad you're enjoying the trip Carolyn. Thanks for coming back!

    Yes, you've said it Garden Sense...breathtaking!

    Thank you Tatyana. The sky is just so darn big out there and I love that expansive feeling! The shot of their hands is one of my favorite.

    Hello Tina! Yes, Big Bend is in Texas and yes, that is just how you should imagine the sky - big and expansive!! Love it! It was a great hike and I only cursed myself for missing those workouts a couple of times. Mostly I was able to hang with the old man (he has the advantage as he is a cyclist and goes on 70+ mile rides every weekend!). I did ok...I made it!

    Dear Elephant's Eye, yes we do!! I loved your recent post...I've got to get to that part of the world someday! You have such an eye for capturing the beauty and it just call me!

    Well thank you much Martha! You know how much that means to me coming from you, right? :-)

  14. Spectacular vistas and your close ups are great Cat. Thank you for sharing your fabulous trip! Beautiful post!

  15. Thank you for sharing and including us on this splendid adventure ... awesome photos! Toni's comment is so on ... "God outdid Himself in Big Bend!"

  16. Thank you Carol for coming along!

    Yes Joey, He absolutely did! The diversity and adversity that the species face in the park is amazing and fascinating to contemplate how they all work together for survival.

  17. What beautiful pictures and memories you are making here. Thanks for sharing!!! I'll be back. :)


  18. You capture the essence of Big Bend so well. Our trips have always been in the spring to see the cactus in bloom but I can see we need to do a fall visit too. Thanks for sharing your visit.

  19. Phew - I'm almost tired from joining you on your 'little' hike. What absolute beauty you've captured here Cat - stunning, rugged, expansive.

    What a creation !

    (thanks for all the work you did to upload these and add comments - for our enjoyment)


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

Thanks for taking the time to visit!